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This is a question This book changed my life

The Goat writes, "Some books have made a huge impact on my life." It's true. It wasn't until the b3ta mods read the Flashman novels that we changed from mild-mannered computer operators into heavily-whiskered copulators, poltroons and all round bastards in a well-known cavalry regiment.

What books have changed the way you think, the way you live, or just gave you a rollicking good time?

Friendly hint: A bit of background rather than just a bunch of book titles would make your stories more readable

(, Thu 15 May 2008, 15:11)
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Not just mine, but I hope a few others too.
Like workboresme, I’ve spent awhile (about two years to be honest – so many QOTW have made it pop into my head) wondering about posting this. And then thought,‘Ah fuck it, I’ll keep wondering until I do’.

So here we go. The book that really changed my life was a little pamphlet that I read in a waiting room years ago. It was one of those cheaply produced booklets that are full of adverts and there’s one article on support stockings or walking frames or volunteer knitting groups. At the back there was one little black and white understated advert for the local Rape Crisis Centre. You know those film sequences where the camera sort of centres in and the background just drops away – I felt like that. Everything else disappeared. That was one day I was glad of the long wait behind the coughers and bawling babies as I just read the advert over and over, those few lines, willing myself to memorise the phone number. I’d no idea before then that such places existed, which I can’t comprehend now. When I was eventually called, I had to force myself to stand up and move – my brain had taken me to a different place and it was a place I’d been tricked into, trapped, held against my will for twenty four hours*, and where I couldn’t move, or talk, or feel.

Not long after, I rang the number, and (to cut a very very long story very short) I have my last counselling session this Wednesday. I’ve been going for two and a half years and have seen the most wonderful, patient, kind woman who has helped me understand myself and learn to like myself and trust myself and my body. I didn’t believe her when she told me back then that one day I’d be excited to leave but I am, I can’t wait. I don’t need to go any more, so I’d rather spend the time having fun.

I’ve changed from someone who careered from disaster to disaster, thinking I would always be unhappy, always have to do what other people wanted, always have to wait for people to make decisions for me, to someone who has quit her job with nothing to go to, with fingers crossed and a burning desire to make a difference. I’m starting a social business to empower other women – this will be women leaving the sex trade as well as refugees. I’ve gone from being someone who couldn’t leave the house, was terrified of being noticed, who couldn’t buy food unless my amazing friend (you know who you are) let me cling to his arm, to someone who just loves being alive, who walks down the road pretending to walk the tight rope on the kerb stones, who plays, runs, jumps in puddles, skips, and will also soon be addressing 150 people about the business I’m starting. I believe in myself. I’ve also changed from someone who couldn’t say the word ‘rape’ and who actually thought she was properly batshit insane and would need medication forever, to understanding that I was going through a healthy reaction to bad shit – if bad stuff happens, it’s healthy to feel bad. Not nice, but healthy. Normal. Real. Human.

So that one little pamphlet affected me, it affected my family (I’d never told my Dad until about two years ago even though to happened when I was legally a child, and so now he understands why things went a bit la la with me for a while), it will affect the lives of the women I work with, and their children and partners, as without that pamphlet the business would never have come into being. A friend said to me once, at a Bad Time, that there was a kernel inside me (I heard it as colonel and gave myself a laugh), and I think that was true – there was just a huge fat overly protective layer around that which I am so very glad to shed.

Perhaps most importantly to me today, I’ve got to know a woman and her son over the last while, both of whom really need someone to talk to about similar bad, bad shit. And while I’d be lying if I said I’m glad what happened to me happened, the fact that it did, and that I read that pamphlet, means I have been able to tell them, and show them, that there are amazing people who can help, and that people can get better – and they are both getting help too.

Rape Crisis have told me that they like word of mouth recommendations as it means they are doing their job well if people like them – let me recommend them hard - www.rapecrisis.org.uk.

*I can’t remember very much of what happened in that time and am quite happy with the explanation that suggests brains block out bad stuff. Works for me.
(, Tue 20 May 2008, 11:48, 23 replies)
it's good to know
that there are these sort of places that are helping good people get themselves back together.

and good that it perpetuates similar help and support to others

I wish you the best of luck with your business
(, Tue 20 May 2008, 11:56, closed)
And I wish you only success in your attempts to help other women overcome the trauma you went through.

(, Tue 20 May 2008, 11:57, closed)
massive kudos for posting this
plus massive hugs.
(, Tue 20 May 2008, 11:59, closed)
I don't know what to say
but, good on you, and you're getting a very heartfelt click.
(, Tue 20 May 2008, 12:09, closed)
For reasons I won't go into
This post has brought a lump to my throat and a tear to my eye.

I just want to say though, that people like you restore my faith in humanity.

It just goes to show that for every bad seed out there, there are also people who are decent, kind and willing to help others. People who actually make a difference for the better.

I wish you all the best and every happiness. :)
(, Tue 20 May 2008, 12:29, closed)
*cheers you on*
(, Tue 20 May 2008, 12:36, closed)
I applaud you...
...and the work that Rape Crisis clearly does so well.

I have a couple of friends (which by my reckoning is a couple too many) who have been through this, and I've seen how hard it can be to come out of the other side.

I am clicking this for what that Pamphlet did for you, and how it has helped you begin to change the lives of other people for the better.

Consider yourself on my list of B3ta Heroes! :)

(, Tue 20 May 2008, 13:13, closed)
And again
What ^these^ have said.

(, Tue 20 May 2008, 13:35, closed)
I'm more of a lurker than a poster, but....
This post was just too powerful not to add a response.

Kudos to you for having the guts to come out and shout about the way RapeCrisis changed your life. It sounds like they are an amazing bunch of people, and I wish you the best of success, with your business venture too.

I also felt compelled to click "I like this" and it'll be the only 1 I do this week. Whilst its great to see funny stories in the newsletter, it would be greater still (if only for 1 issue) to help raise awareness of these people.

Thank you very much for the obviously heartfelt eye opener.

All the best
(, Tue 20 May 2008, 13:40, closed)
Because this is B3ta (and someone has to lower the tone...)

Do you realise that, statisticaly speaking, at least 50% of the people involved in rape really enjoy it? And for gang rape, it's even higher?

And can we please stop using the word "rape". My preferred term is:

"Unexpected sexual encounter"

Time to back-pedal

But to be honest, as a male, I really,really don't understand sex and violence. I understand sex (at least what presses my buttons) and I understand violence (to be used as a last resort but, when used, put the bastards down as hard and as fast as possible). But I really can't associate the two. Which is probably why I don't get the whole BSDM thing.

I've been in a fair amount of fights and I've never once been sexually aroused if I won. Even when I won, I get exactly the same reaction. Mouth goes dry, knees start to shake followed by my whole body shaking and then I often throw up.

For me, sex and violence are not complete opposites - they're not even in the same ball-park. I also think that girl's who liked to be spanked are deeply weird.

But that's just me...

(, Tue 20 May 2008, 13:45, closed)
good on you and go for it.

*is ashamed to be a man*
(, Tue 20 May 2008, 13:46, closed)
Well done you.

There needs to be another button that says something other than 'I like this'. Maybe just 'Thank you'.
Thank you Ancrenne
(, Tue 20 May 2008, 13:49, closed)
Rape crisis
were the only thing which stopped my friend killing herself. None of her friends could get through to her. Especially after the court case was dropped for "lack of evidence/witnesses".

I frogmarched her to them and (three years on) she thanked me for it.

So well done you - and anyone else who's fought to come back from that brink - and stay strong.

*masses of hugs*
(, Tue 20 May 2008, 13:50, closed)
Isn't she wonderful. To have come from such a bad place, and I know a little of that place from what she's told me, to become the strong independant women she is now.

Life will only get better ancrenne.

Edit - Monty, don't be ashamed to be a man. You can't take responsiblitly for all the bastards out there.
(, Tue 20 May 2008, 14:06, closed)
best of luck with your future work! With an attitude like that, I'm sure you'll do a ton of good stuff.

rape crisis centre has helped a couple of my friends too. They're pretty amazing.

and hooray for kerb tight-rope walking!
(, Tue 20 May 2008, 14:08, closed)
You lot are amazing! Thanks so much for all the messages and hugs. I will claim some of them in person at the bash.

Isn't b3ta a lovely place to be? :)
(, Tue 20 May 2008, 15:12, closed)
^ Yes
Yes, it is. Supremely nice. And I'm bouncing on my seat in excited anticipation of the bash.

I've never travelled 350 miles just to go for a pint before. Apart from the last time, but that was work related. This is just sheer arsewittery and, quite frankly, wonderfully spontaneous...

(, Tue 20 May 2008, 16:22, closed)
Big hugs xxxx
Rape Crisis were great for me afterwards, too!
(, Tue 20 May 2008, 16:48, closed)
And a huge amount of respect for your frank honesty and drive in your new venture.
See you in That London

(, Tue 20 May 2008, 20:41, closed)
Amazing, isn't it, what a difference something like that can make.
Me, I've never been raped, yet I know what you mean by this.

I'm not sure I want to voice it all here- aside from being deeply personal, it would make for some rather poor reading, I'm sure- but I endured years of abuse without really realizing it. That is, until I found a website that detailed someone else's own experience of abuse and I could just about hear those words being read in my voice...

It was an awakening at what could be considered either the best possible time in my life for it to happen or the worst possible time. I was in engineering school at the time, and I can honestly say that this awakening was the event that triggered my divorce and thrust me into five years of pure hell as I struggled with school, with divorce and with my own internal confusion.

I'm now a much stronger and healthier person for having gone through it, but it was about the hardest thing I've ever done.

One bit of advice, though- like most survivors of abuse (whether it be sexual abuse, substance abuse, violence of another type or whatever) I came out of it with a strong messianic urge to save people who are going through what I went through. I tried that for a couple of years- and found that it was pulling me down there and keeping me from finishing healing myself. I was unable to move on because every exchange I had with someone else who had gone through it opened up the wounds again and brought me right back to it, and perpetuated the depression I had been battling for so many years. Beware of falling into this yourself.
(, Tue 20 May 2008, 22:28, closed)
Thanks for the tip mister Loon - I know that feeling
But while I am evangelical about what helped me, I consider myself sorted to the degree that I know my limits, and what I can do and, even more so, know what I can't do. I've learned that not everything is responsibility and that in itself is an amazing lesson.
(, Tue 20 May 2008, 22:34, closed)
We're a load of survivors aren't we!?

*Hugs and cheers*
(, Tue 20 May 2008, 22:38, closed)
Good on ya!
Thanks for sharing that with us. Also glad you're willing to help out others who've been through what you went through. Good luck with your venture.

* hugs *

Oh, and * hugs The Resident Loon too *

(I've still got some spare hugs left over from last week).
(, Wed 21 May 2008, 0:53, closed)

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